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November 10th, 2014 by


students texting1 - Insights Into the Average South African Mobile Phone User Written by Leigh Andrews

Mobile is definitely the way forward for market research, but you need an accurate profile of the respondents, and don’t dare ignore consumers’ fears of online and mobile security…

In the second keynote session of the first day of Merlien Institute’s Market Research for a Mobile World or MRMW conference, we heard from Jarrod Payne, account director and Desre Mann, operations director for Africa and Middle East at Millward Brown. Payne kicked off with a graphical timeline showing key mobile developments from the birth of the universe 6 billion years ago to the invention of the first smartphone – an enormous time lapse and now mobile phones dominate the world.

Mann then spoke of Millward Brown’s mobile research journey, saying it involved lots of hair-pulling and fun, with their first Link Express on mobile in 2009. They soon founds that respondents were fast-forwarding through the ads, so they brought in added video security and GPS measures to ensure the respondents really were who they said they were and really were from where they said they were from.

Mann said parameters can also be set up in GPS if an interview is completed too fast, and said fingerprint devices as well as strict media control all enhance overall survey effectiveness. This in turn leads to incredible advantages as mobile is cheaper and faster than other methods, with a better interview context. The challenge lies in keeping it representative and embracing the new as new changes come. As an example, Payne spoke of a mobile phone survey into shopping in South Africa, with just 20 questions per survey. This resulted in data from 1,000 South Africans, with the results that South Africans really do use their phones a lot.

LEVERAGE INFO ON HOW, WHERE, and WHEN PEOPLE USE THEIR MOBILE PHONES

Specifically, this accounts for 2.6 hours of phone use per respondent per day, which is 40% more than the global average, across the age gap. Of this, 14% of respondents’ time is spent on social media, with the majority of that on Facebook. Payne interjected that they had to spell out ‘IM’ as instant messaging as respondents didn’t understand the phrase for chat services – the most popular of these was Whatsapp. This then has implications on how people use their phones while shopping. Interestingly, Payne said that 34% of respondents in the US research products on their phones for an hour or more before making a purchase. In South Africa, 88% of this is done using online mobile, almost twice as much as is done on PC. Results also showed interesting mobile usage trends while shopping. For example, respondents claimed to use their phones while in the dressing room to send pictures of the item as well as to compare prices, to check in on a social network and to look for product discounts online. In addition to this, a mindboggling 13% of respondents claim they even make a purchase in an online store while browsing in a real one.

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